Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can
Create Heaven on Earth
I've read a couple of books on brainwashing (what we do to our enemies) and self-hypnosis (the same process, only done to ourselves), and I'm confident that with enough time and a willing guinea pig, working every day for a few hours, I could brainwash or hypnotize anyone into believing that this is heaven. That person would then walk around in awe of the beauty and blessings in the world around us. That person would be saturated with gratitude to God. And that person would react with Christ-like forgiveness and patience with those who believe that we are not in heaven and that it's sinful to think we are or to try to create heaven on earth.
Would you be willing to hypnotize yourself into feeling an intense sense of gratitude for everything in your life? Can you place limitless value what God has given us and say "If this isn't Heaven, I don't know what is" with heartfelt joy and appreciation for all you have?
Some people have an intense reaction against this idea. It would be somehow blasphemous or sacrilegious to say we're already in heaven. This couldn't possibly be heaven. "This guy's a nut!" you're saying about me.
I have a few questions I'd like to ask you, that I've asked others, just to get you started thinking about heaven and heaven-on-earth. The more effort you put into thinking about the answers, the more you'll get out of the exercise (and the better I'll look!). I'll list a few typical answers to help you get started.
Of course, people don't really believe half of what they say will happen in heaven. Nobody seriously looks forward to walking on clouds or playing a harp. One person who lost a leg said "I'm gonna get my leg back." So I guess he looks forward to walking or running in heaven. Another said "fishing." I think he was half-joking.
"Praising God" is a good and Biblical answer, but the answer raises three questions:
The Bible says human beings were created to "exercise dominion over the earth" (Genesis 1:26-28). In the Garden of Eden we were to "dress and keep" the Garden, that is,
A farmer has a deep-down sense of value when he realizes that his labor is feeding other human beings. A construction worker builds houses for families. Each of us has a part to play in "exercising dominion" and meeting the needs of others. A Free Market and the division of labor allows us to do these things with greater efficiency. If we were deprived of these responsibilities, these opportunities, we would be like fish out of water. If all the things God created us to do were lost to us, would we really enjoy "heaven?"
You may want to scour your Bible right now and read all the verses on heaven and see what you're going to be doing there for all eternity. Hint: the Bible really doesn't say that much.
The Bible says a whole lot more about what we're supposed to be doing here on earth, and encourages us to carry out these responsibilities, and cherish these opportunities "on earth as it is in heaven."
But "Praising God" is also part of our nature. "The Chief End of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever," says the Catechism. But can't we praise God here on earth? Did God make a mistake when He told us to "exercise dominion over the earth" -- did He overlook the fact that we can't dress and keep the garden and praise God at the same time? No, I think we are capable -- indeed, required -- to praise God while we work, to praise God for our work. And when we finish our work, we can praise God for our accomplishment and our rest. "Pray without ceasing," Paul tells us; "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." We can pray while we work, while we rest -- at all times, and we can pour out our gratitude toward God "in every thing."
Find that verse to which you can point and say, "See, there's something we'll be doing in heaven that we can't possibly be doing on earth." I challenge you.
Let's look at this another way. Let's compare our lives in 2004 with those in 1804.
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